Sports

Storm looking to extend Liberty’s losing streak

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thejapannews– The Seattle Storm look to regain their footing after a rare misstep when they visit the New York Liberty on Wednesday.

The teams, who have yet to face each other this season, will get to know each other well in relatively short order. They’ll reconvene in New York on Friday and again in Seattle on Sept. 2.

The Storm (16-6) followed up winning the Commissioner’s Cup last Thursday with an 87-85 loss in overtime to the Chicago Sky three days later.

Illinois native Jewell Loyd recorded a season-high 26 points against Chicago on Sunday, but she was unable to sink a potential tying layup as time expired in overtime.

“This isn’t the playoffs yet,” Loyd said, per the Seattle Times. “We have time to build and get better. This is all helping us get better to be ready for the playoffs. We want these games early on so we can understand how we can get better and how we can grow.”

The Storm played without former WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart and 12-time All-Star Sue Bird, who both rested after helping the U.S. win a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

Stewart’s team-leading 20.6 points per game average is third-best in the league, while Bird’s 3-point shooting percentage (43.5) is fifth-best in the WNBA.

New York’s Natasha Howard put on a scoring display in her return from a 15-game absence due to a sprained MCL on Sunday. Unfortunately for the Liberty (10-12), her 30 points were not enough in an 88-78 setback to the Minnesota Lynx.

“The fact that (Howard) was able to go for 30 minutes and stay productive the whole time, to guard (former WNBA MVP Sylvia Fowles) on one end and drop 30 on the other is remarkable,” New York coach Walt Hopkins said.

Howard will receive her first chance to face her former team on Wednesday. She played with Seattle from 2018-20.

Sami Whitcomb, also a former member of the Storm (2017-20), finished with 12 points Sunday as the Liberty dropped their third straight game.

“Everything is really important for us right now,” Whitcomb said. “Whoever we’re playing, we kinda have to be locked in and focused. We only have 10 games left and they are all really critical for us.”